I am upgrading my current PC from the ice age. I previously had a Duron 1200MHz with 1GB RAM and a GeForce Ti4200. I have been using my girlfriends sister's pc for a while now, but she wants it back. The budget is tight (~$1000 sans graphics card).
I have a 24" Samsung 244T monitor (thank you work!) that I would like to make the most of, the keyboard, mouse, DVD burner, and X1550 already. I will be buying a new Radeon 4850 when it comes out (an X1550 will make do for a few months until then). I mostly play RTS (Company of Heroes etc) and do a little bit of photoshop. I will be using XP, but may play with ubuntu or vista down the track.
Here are my questions:
1. Should I go for the X38-DS4 motherboard or just stick with the P35. I would save $100, but give up two PCIe 2.0 slots for one PCIe 1.0 slot and a few USB ports (which I would use). Will the Radeon 4850 max out the PCIe 1.0 slot? Onboard sound is not an issue as I am buying an Asus Xonar D2 (or D2X...) which I hope to output to home theater once I get that (another story).
2. Which RAM? I plan on overclocking the E2160 to around the 3GHz mark. The FSB shouldn't hit 400MHz. The Patriot RAM is tempting as it is cheap cheap with the rebate and seems to have good reviews.
3. Spinpoint F1 or should I go for the Seagate Barracuda? Reliability is more important to me than speed.
4. PSU ok or non-crossfire edition for the P35? Should I drop down to a ~600W PSU and save some $?
HD - $130 shipped! One of the better faster HD's out on the market. Has had good reviews and might be a bit better than the Samsung F1 you selected.
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Total so far ~$615 - $25 MIR's = $590!! Now I'd probably wait for the Intel price cuts, which should be real soon, before I buy the CPU. If they fall down well than I'd probably consider getting the q6600 (hopefully falls below $200). Still use the CPU HSF that I listed above and enjoy the quad power at 3 gHz!!! This build above leaves about $400 for your new GPU in a couple of months, so you can decide if you want to wait for the newer GPU's or just get a 8800gts (g92) now or just save you $ for later. You would have the budget now for it, with about $150 to spare!
Good homework but try to get a better HSF either xigmagtech or thermalright.
For your purpose a P35-DSL would be fine or a ASUS P5K-E for better inclusions.
Any DDR2-800 ram will do 2GB would be fine unless your doing heavy photoshop
Both hard drives are about the same so go for the cheapest.
I have changed the HSF to the Xingmagtech HDT-S1283, the board to the P35-DSL, the RAM to the Patriot Extreme Perf. and switched to the Seagate HDD. Since I am not buying a SLI board, I also changed the PSU to the Corsair 650W.